Cut out the Middle Man!
In recognition of this, most hotels have written in to policy that Sales Managers must respond to all leads within a given timeframe (eg. Crowne Plaza has the 2 hour response guarantee).
Many hotels have all leads coming through to one centralized person who then assigns them to the Sales Managers. But what happens when that person steps away from their desk? Maybe they only go to the bathroom and are gone 10 minutes, but that is a 10 minute head start just given to the completion!
Even if you have a sales admin whose primary responsibility is to assign these leads, you are still adding valuable minutes to the lead response time. Because even if they work at lightning speed they are still not faster than the lead going directly to the correct Sales Manager immediately.
I know there is no simple answer, but the goal always needs to be to get the lead to the responder as fast as possible. MeetingBroker (yes I know I am biased!) has fabulous assignment rules that automatically send leads directly to the appropriate Sales Manager (eg. assign all leads with a Corporate market segment with more than 50 rooms on peak to John).
One other way is set up your online lead channels to send the leads directly to a Sales person rather than a lead catcher. Sites like theKnot.com are a no brainer – this site should absolutely be sending the leads directly to your Catering Sales Manager who handles the Weddings market. If 90% of your StarCite leads are for the Association market, then you may as well have them go directly to your Association Sales Manager.
One other hotel I know of has all incoming electronic leads come through to a generic email address. This email inbox is then shared (possible if you use Outlook) with all Sales Managers so everyone can see if there is a lead sitting there that needs a response.
So have a look at your lead assignment process today – cut out the middle man so that your Sales Managers can receive the leads as fast as possible. One less excuse for not responding to the lead FIRST!